Monday, December 24, 2012

Whiter Than Snow

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Heres the link to the next to last episode of the Cinnamon Bear.

A White Christmas Eve
I feel like I've joined the kids in the snow country. We awoke this morning to quite a bit of snow.
So glad we did our traveling yesterday and only have to watch the beautiful snow from snug and warm inside.

The kids have their star and are ready to head for home. As they are getting into Santa's sleigh they ask Crazy Quilt to hold the star. Just when you think the story has come to its end too. 

The Cinnamon Bear Tre
I also got a e-mail from the person who commissioned me to paint the Cinnamon Bear ornaments earlier this year. She sent me some beautiful photos of how they look on her tree.  I've included them here so you can enjoy them too.

So it is Christmas Eve day. Here where I live we are sure to have a white Christmas. I'm going to have to come up with a new writing topic. I am thinking of doing a New Testament Book study for the month of January. Something that could be used as a short daily mini bible study. Let me know if you have book suggestions.

So here's my verse for today. I sort of have snow on the brain.

 Psalm 51:6-7

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
    you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
I am struck how over night some changes can come to us. I went to bed last night and it was dark and rainy. I awoke to a world frosted with white. Trees that sparkle and glisten. I realize from the Psalm above that it is the Lord who does the cleansing.  I could see the transformation starting in homeless woman I gave a purple bible to yesterday at church as a christmas going away gift.  She gave her heart to the Lord about a month ago. She has been coming to our feeding now for three years. She said to me yesterday. "I'm so glad you guys didn't give up on me." 
Its funny how each week, we feed and love people and it often feels discouraging because you don't see much change. They have seen Christian's come and go but most don't stick around long.  There are times when we feel like its only such a small handful of us and such a mountain of need and so many broken lives that it feels like an impossible task to reach them all. About the time you start to have a serious discussion with someone some drama breaks out in the room that needs attended to. We think if only we had more healthy Christians who would come and help. We get plenty of kitchen help but very few folks who want to sit at a table with the homeless and poor.  Every now an then we will find a prodigal who is ready to return at last to the father.  Here with the down and out and hopeless - easy pat answers don't do a lot of good. What does seem to make a difference to them is people who will be there for them. Little words of encouragement and kindness go a long way for people who are used to being treated like skum or even worse as invisible. 

So while I am sitting here enjoying the beauty of the snow, I can't help but think of my friend with the purple bible who still has a week to live under the bridge in this snow before she goes to a clean and sober living situation in California. I know her story has not been unlike the children in the Cinnamon Bear Story. They get so close to getting the star and then there is some set back.  She will be sharing her story during our service this coming Sunday. She plans to go to the library this week so she can e-mail me her ideas so I can help her sort them out a bit.  

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you that it is you who does the work of cleansing and transforming. Wash us white as snow. Thank you for the transformations you have brought in each of our lives over the past year. Help us to bring your love to the lost and the broken and to never forget how far you have taken each of us. I pray for my friend, this is her first Christmas as a believer. I pray that you will help her in this transition from her old life to her new one.

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